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TUSD looks to replace trustee, fill vacant seat in upcoming election
TUSD-Deborah Martin
Deborah Martin resigned her seat on the Turlock Unified School District Board of Trustees because she and her family are moving back to Oregon. - photo by Photo Contributed

Deborah Martin attended her last meeting as a Turlock Unified School District Board of Trustee member on Tuesday, following her announcement to resign earlier than her term expiration date in 2017.

“Being on the school board has just been great,” said Martin. “I really enjoyed the opportunity to help educate kids and I’ve certainly enjoyed serving the teachers and staff in this District.”

Martin and her husband Chris Borovanksy, who also announced his retirement as the Stanislaus County Fair's chief executive officer in February, will move back to Oregon where they both lived prior to moving to Turlock. Martin said that they have already purchased a home on the Rogue River and plan to move this week.

“We used to live in the area and both of us had been very involved in the community there,” said Martin. “I think I will take the skills and experience that I’ve gotten on this school board and hopefully do something similar in the Rogue Valley.”

Martin said that she initially decided to run for the trustee position two years ago because she wanted to find a way to connect with the Turlock community, similar to the way that she had connected to her community in Oregon by serving on a number of nonprofit boards.

“It felt good coming on the Board because I had already lived here three years and I think Turlock has some really good schools,” said Martin. “I remember when I was running, I would tell people that I’m not running because things are in bad shape and I am here to fix it, but because I think we have a really strong school district and I wanted to be a part of that.”

During her time as a trustee, Martin helped with the implementation of Common Core, welcomed new TUSD Interim Superintendent Dana Salles Trevethan, and collaborated with the District, community and fellow Board members regarding the expansion of the dual immersion program at Osborn Two-Way Immersion Academy.

“I tried so hard to get my kids into the dual immersion program, but there was a waiting list,” said Martin. “We are expanding the program and trying really hard to make sure that there isn’t a waiting list anymore and it’s a really good thing.

“If there is an interest and a demand is there, I’m excited that we are working to accommodate that,” continued Martin.

TUSD also released a statement regarding Martin’s resignation, in which the trustee member was commended for her critical role in the District’s decision-making process that has been challenged with a new budget process and national standards.

“Deborah’s decisions have been governed not only with a business sense in mind, but also with sensitivity towards students, parents and staff,” said TUSD in the statement. “As a result of Deborah’s focus and intentions on making TUSD the very best, a great deal has been achieved through her participation on the Board.”

Following the resignation of Martin on Tuesday, the Board voted to make a provisional appointment until the November 2017 Board election, as well as approved an appointment timeline of activities. The Board must complete the appointment process within 60 days.

“I would tell my successor that it is extremely rewarding to work with Board members that are committed to their community and schools,” said Martin. “Not only that, but the core of the District includes amazing staff, incredible teachers and wonderful parents.

“It really is a rewarding volunteer position,” continued Martin.

TUSD is also still aiming to fill a vacancy in Trustee Area 7, which encompasses the west side of Turlock and parts of Merced County, after no one declared candidacy during the filing period last month.

“This year marks our transition from at-large to trustee areas,” said Trevethan in August. “As a result, it is our hope that a community member in Area 7 will be interested in becoming involved in TUSD governance and contributing to a very strong and dedicated school board.”  

The law requires that the Board must make an appointment to fill the vacancy. The District does not have the option of calling a special election. The appointment must be made in time for the appointee to be seated on the Board prior to the November election and the person appointed will serve a full four-year term from 2015 to 2019.